I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this here before (bear with me if I have) but, back in September 2008 I met some of Brewdog’s founders at ‘Beer Exposed’ in Islington, London.
I liked the guys and I liked their beers – including Punk IPA.
A couple of years later, I read about their ‘Equity for Punks’ programme to fund their first brewery – bypassing the banks. I figured it would be worth helping somebody follow their dream, so I raided my piggy bank and rustled up a couple of hundred quid.
Fast forward to 2018, Brewdog have around fifty bars around the world – I used to visit the Manchester bar when I was working ‘up there’ – Punk IPA is available in in most supermarkets, and my two hundred quid has multiplied to over six thousand.
Not a bad return for helping someone follow their dream.
Brewdog’s newest bar is also its largest, on Great Tower Street, a few hundred yards from the Tower of London and opposite the ‘Hung, Drawn and Quartered’ pub.
In a previous life, I used to work about fifty yards away.
And it was to the Tower Hill Brewdog Bar that I headed on a hot summer’s day for lunch with Kit & Elaine.
It’s vast, I can’t recall ever visiting a larger bar in Britain, there are some 25 taps supplying both Brewdog and guest ales, and a wide selection of brews in bottles and cans.
There are benches and booths and a few tables outside.
The staff are attentive and knowledgeable, my friend Elaine was tempted by ‘Elvis Juice’ but declined it after being offered a taster. Instead, the waitress offered her a Framboise that was well received. Kit settled on ‘Dead Pony Club’ and I ‘Tangerine Dream’; all the beers, as one would expect, were well served and in perfect condition.
We chose Burgers from the food menu, Kit and I each tried the ‘Chipotle chorizo burger’ while Elaine ordered the ‘Clucky This Time’ – a vegetarian option that featured ‘southern fried seitan’ (a new one on me).
The burgers were brought in an unfeasibly fast time and were, frankly disappointing.
They’d obviously been pre-cooked, were dry and verging on being overcooked. Our Chipotle chorizo burgers might have been rescued by a more generous portion of chipotle mayo (or indeed any mayo).
We ate them and, being British, didn’t complain, but it’s disappointing compared to the earlier food offerings I enjoyed in Brewdog Manchester.
And frankly, there are better food offerings in the vicinity – such as Bodeans.
I’ll be happy to go back, and indeed intend to collect more stamps in my shareholders’ ‘stamp book’ by visiting more Brewdog bars, but next time it’ll be just for the beers.